‘Frustration’ as there is still no firm timeline for new Lyde Green schools

The site of the new schools in Honeysuckle Road

The promised autumn update on the long-awaited secondary school for Lyde Green is that talks are continuing.

In July (Issue 739) we reported that the expected opening of the school – and another primary school to serve the 3,000-home estate – had been delayed yet again, with a new anticipated opening date given of September 2024.

The new schools were approved in outline six years ago but it took longer than planned to secure funding. They had been due to open in September 2022 but building work has yet to even begin after a series of hold-ups including a change of builder and one of the sponsors.

The plans also had to be redesigned westwards after a high pressure gas main was discovered and the new site chosen for the new schools was said to be the only possible option. But it meant it would be on land earmarked for the estate’s second local centre, with retail and other facilities. which had to be scuppered.

The latest update on the council’s website says: “The council continues its engagement with the Department for Education and partners in the pre-construction process. We share the community’s frustration but remain committed to delivering the new primary and secondary schools to meet local demand for places. The process is designed to ensure that the final projects are well-designed and that they will deliver value for money.

“As soon as we are able to provide an update and indicate a firm timeline to take these new school projects forward, we will provide further information.”

The parties involved are South Gloucestershire Council, the South West Regional Schools Commissioner’s Office, the Department of Education, Olympus Academy Trust, which will run the new secondary school, and Castle School Education Trust, which already runs Lyde Green’s first primary school in Willowherb Road, and will run the second one.

The council has pledged to ensure that there are sufficient places at other schools to meet demand until the new buildings are available.